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Associate Professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Purnima Bhanot, joins the show to discuss all things malaria.

In this episode, you will discover:

  • What the malaria parasite does once it enters the human body
  • How many deaths continue to occur annually as a result of malaria, and why approximately 80% of these deaths are of children under age five
  • When and how a human can build an immune response and avoid the worst consequences of malaria
  • How the insecticide DDT was used for malaria control, and how it actually led to a resurgence of malaria in countries that had nearly eradicated it

Malaria has plagued the human species for as long as we have known agriculture. With about 200 million cases and 400,000 deaths per year, it has a staggering toll on human life, but only half of the toll it had about a decade ago.

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Malaria is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium, which is transmitted to humans through the bite of the Anopheles mosquito. The disease affects primarily children under the age of five in sub-Saharan Africa, and leads to a number of malaria symptoms, including high fever, chills, anemia, coma, and death.

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Bhanot explains the malaria life cycle and exactly how it interacts with the body during subclinical and clinical phases of the disease.

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She also discusses which populations of individuals are most vulnerable to the disease and why, what sort of control methods have been implemented, how the immune response to the parasite works, whether malaria infects non-human animals, the increasing resistance to antimalarial drugs and how this is being studied, possible malaria treatments, and so much more.

Available on Apple Podcasts:


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